There has never been a better time to learn a skilled trade. This means a lot of opportunities exist for Aboriginal people who are interested in a well-paying, fulfilling career. With over 150 skilled trades to choose from in Ontario, there is a trade out there suited for everyone’s interests and abilities.
The first step to working in one of Ontario’s 156 trades is finding a suitable apprenticeship program. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Explore your options: Before you start an apprenticeship, make sure to do some research about the trades you are interested in, what you’ll be doing, working conditions, and how much money you can expect to make.
Find a sponsor: Once you’ve found the trade you want to pursue, you’ll have to find an employer/sponsor to sign you on as an apprentice. There are lots of resources available through Employment Ontario providers to help you along the way.
Sign an agreement: To become an apprentice, you’ll have to sign a Registered Training Agreement with your employer and contact your local Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) apprenticeship office.
Grants and loans: Apprentices may be eligible for federal or provincial grants and loans. There are also financial incentives for employers.
Become a member: After signing your Registered Training Agreement, you’ll have 90 days to become a member of the College. You’ll need to submit a member application form and your annual apprentice membership fee of $67.80 ($60.00+HST).
Programs for Aboriginal Youth
Skills Work!® Summer Camps (Aboriginal Focus) – Specialized camps for Aboriginal youth that provide opportunities for campers to try their hand at a number of skilled trades.
Aboriginal Youth Skilled Trades Camp – Georgian College – Summer camp for youth in grade 7 or 8 (ages 12 to 14) that provides an opportunity for them to explore the trades.
Bursaries & Scholarships
- Indspire – Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries and Scholarships
- Ontario Power Generation – Student Awards
- Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres – Bill Messenger Memorial Bursary
- Métis Nation of Ontario – Bursaries and Scholarships program
- Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool
- Financial Resources for Apprentices & Tradespersons (pdf)
- Financial Resources for Employers (pdf)
Mentorship for Aboriginal Youth
Aboriginal Networking Event – Skills Canada – Ontario – Meet with community members working in the skilled trades to learn about the trades and their personal journey.
Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario – The Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization committed to increasing the number of Aboriginal people in the trades in Ontario.
Aboriginal Apprenticeship Centre – The Centre assists Métis and First Nation peoples become trained for, and engaged in, apprenticeship programs.
Grand River Employment and Training – Grand River Employment and Training (GREAT) is a community organization which delivers employment and training programs and services to Six Nations members.
Métis Nation of Ontario – The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) brings Métis citizens together to celebrate and share their rich culture, heritage and values, and to forward their aspirations as a people.
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs – The Ministry works towards ensuring a better future for Aboriginal Ontarians.
Miziwe Biik – Miziwe Biik is an Aboriginal employment and training provider created to meet the unique needs of Aboriginal people.
Ontario’s Aboriginal Agreement Holders – Aboriginal agreement holders deliver Aboriginal employment programs and services across Canada.
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres – Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) is working to prepare urban Aboriginal people in Ontario for trades and apprenticeships.
Aboriginal Institute – Find out more about resources and opportunities for study in Ontario.
Skills Ontario (Aboriginal Initiatives) – Skills Ontario tailors a number of programs to people of Aboriginal descent.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Aboriginal bursaries search tool.
Young Workers -Did you know that you have rights protecting you against workplace health and safety hazards, and to ensure that you are treated fairly? Employers and supervisors have duties under the law to protect you. Check out these resources to learn more about your rights and responsibilities on the job.
Young Worker Awareness Program – This program is available to any high school in the province of Ontario, Canada. It has two components: a general assembly presentation and a classroom instruction segment. Both the general assembly and classroom components stress student interaction.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety – You’ve got a job. Or you’re getting ready to join the work world. Either way, it’s important to be prepared. Here’s your health and safety checklist. Check out these resources so you can be ready for anything you may come across on the job.
Workplace Safety – The Basics – Are you safe at work? Every year, hundreds of youth are injured or killed on the job, many of them within days of starting a new job. You and your employer each have rights and responsibilities for creating a safe and healthy workplace.